Lightning sparks brush fires; firefighters escape falling tree

WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ore. - Thunderstorms knocked out power, toppled trees and started brush fires throughout the Willamette Valley early Friday morning.

Lightning sparked several brush fires around Washington County. A spokeswoman with Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue said the biggest fire was in a field along Southwest Chapman Road in Sherwood. Firefighters planned to stay in the area to mop up hot spots.

Also in Sherwood, lightning struck a 50-foot tree along Southwest Brookman Road. The tree caught fire.

As firefighters began putting the fire out, the top of the tree broke off and came crashing down, narrowly missing them.

Firefighters told KATU they had to run away. No one was hurt.

Neighbor Clayton Hargrove and his wife woke up, ran outside and found fire in their front yard

"Eventually our neighbor over here came over and said he could see fire in the tree, so that's when we realized for the first time that a tree had been hit," he said.

The tree took down a fence and knocked out power to many in the area.

Portland General Electric crews have been working to restore power to hundreds of customers all morning.

Firefighters got the fire under control.

The Portland bureau of the National Weather Service says 850 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes were detected overnight.